Andy Avalos has always been fascinated by radio, television and the weather. It's no wonder he decided to pursue a
career which eventually allowed him to do all three during his nearly 40 years in the industry. After being honorably
discharged from the U.S. Army, he landed his first job in broadcasting in 1977 at KPUB, a local country and western
radio station in his home town of Pueblo, Colorado. He quickly advanced from weekend disc jockey to weekday
morning drive to program and music director.
Andy’s first television gig came in 1979 when he was hired to co-host an afternoon program on the local NBC affiliate KOAA-TV in Colorado Springs and Pueblo. He was trained to fill in as a local weathercaster and, after just a few months, he was given the weekend weather position. At the same time, he was hired to work at KDZA, the number one Top 40 radio station in Pueblo. Having listened to this station growing up, it was the fulfillment of a long held desire to work at The Rock of the Rockies .
In 1982 he was hired by then local CBS affiliate KMGH-TV in Denver, CO as weekend weather anchor and science/ environmental reporter. In 1984 he started working in a similar position at ABC-Chicago's WLS along with the opportunity to continue his meteorology studies. He spent ten years at WLS before moving to NBC's WMAQ in January of 1994 as the lead weather anchor for the 5 p.m., 6 p.m. and 10 p.m. newscasts.
Five years later, Andy left NBC 5 to pursue another lifelong dream --- becoming an entrepreneur --- as owner/operator of the Pancake Cafe in suburban Lemont. In 2003, he returned to NBC 5 as the morning meteorologist, spending the rest of his career there until his retirement in 2021.
Andy’s many accomplishments, both professional and personal, include: three Chicago/Midwest Emmys; the Peter Lisagor Award; the Spirit of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Award from Loyola Medical Center; the Seal of Approval from the American Meteorological Society; the Compassion In Action Award from the Anti-Cruelty Society for helping thousands of animals in need; and the 10 Years of Service Award from the Agency on Aging's Holiday Meals On Wheels. He also raised $20,000 ringing the bell for the Salvation Army, is in Central High School's Hall of Honor, and has emceed countless fund-raising events.
Donald Farnham was born in Syracuse, NY, and after high school enlisted in the U.S. Marine Corps. He was called to
active duty in 1943 at the age of 17. He was assigned to the 3rd Joint Assault Signal Company and sent to
Guadalcanal after training in radio-telephone service and amphibious landings. His company fought in the Marianas
Islands, Saipan, Guam and Iwo Jima which was secured for the Allies after a month of furious combat and heavy
Following military service, Don studied Radio and Television at DeVry Tech in Chicago and Midland Radio and Television School in Kansas City, MO. He was among the first hired by the American Broadcasting Company when it signed on the air in 1948, and he remained with ABC-TV for 45 years. His illustrious career as a cameraman included witnessing everything from memorable sporting contests to historic world events. His first Emmy® Award came in 1959, when he was named Best Cameraman, TV Programs.
In 1962, Don was filming from one of the ships sent to recover astronaut John Glenn and his space capsule from the North Atlantic after Glenn became the first human to orbit the earth. He helped document President Richard Nixon's historic 1972 visit to China. Much of Don's camera career was spent covering sports for Monday Night Football and Monday Night Baseball, and he was the first technical director of ABC’s landmark series Wide World of Sports in 1961. Don was a cameraman for three Olympic Games, winning a National Sports Emmy® for his camerawork on the 1980 Winter Olympics in Lake Placid, NY.
Don’s camera skills earned him many other exciting assignments including Paris fashion shows, African safaris and Alaskan cruises. He served for many years as Union Steward for NABET/CWA Region 4 (National Association of Broadcast Employees & Technicians-Communications Workers of America) and was its longest-serving member.
Don was passionately involved in service to his suburban Riverside community, volunteering for Little League, Boy Scouts, Lions Club and People Care, driving elderly to their medical appointments. He is also considered one of the Fathers of Riverside TV, a founding member of the Riverside Cable Commission, serving there until he was 90 years old.
He was a devoted family man to his beloved wife Ann and their six children: Mary, Therese, Donald, Jr., Dennis, Norah and Molly. Don passed away in 2020 at the age of 94 leaving behind a legacy of devotion to family, country and the television industry.
Bill Hamilton’s career spanned more than 60 years, both in radio from 1943 and as a pioneering Chicago television
announcer and host. Born and raised in Kansas City, Missouri, he launched his broadcast career at K.C. Junior
College and was coached by John Cameron Swayze at KMBC in K.C. Bill became the first regularly scheduled
Chicago TV newscaster on WBKB (now WLS-TV) when Chicago had fewer than 500 TV sets in use. In 1944, he
became the morning and evening newscaster for the Fair Store. Channel 7 G.M. Bill Eddy offered free TV airtime on
Friday evenings and Bill used this opportunity to create different advertising strategies for live commercials.
On WENR (now WLS-AM), he delivered the first commercially sponsored newscast in Chicago. And during weather segments on TV, he stood behind a glass-panel-covered U.S. map drawing storm fronts and temperatures backwards on the glass, making use of his weather training as a pilot. Bill’s news coverage included the 1952 coronation of Britain’s Queen Elizabeth II. In 1956, he produced an amateur-hour program for Polk Brothers, spotlighting local talent. Like today’s The Voice, he hosted Audition with guest-judges awarding the winner live on air. Bill also hosted an array of TV programs including: Flight Plan (about pilots and aerospace topics), Chat (celebrity talk show with guests that included Basil Rathbone and Kim Novak), and The Melody Five (a musical entertainment show).
Bill appeared on all five major stations (ABC7, CBS2, NBC5, WGN & WTTW) in Chicago, occasionally four in one day. He also served as the announcer for WTTW auctions and his voice was used in countless narrations throughout Chicago, including for Museum of Science & Industry exhibits. He might be most remembered for the live ‘night owl’ spots he wrote/directed/performed during the nightly movie sponsored by Polk Bros. during his 37-year relationship with that company. There were eight spots with eight minutes between each to set up the next. Bill wrote and produced the Statue of Liberty promo, Polk’s last, most prized promotion.
Bill was also the voice of Jewel Food commercials for 52 years, a founding member of the Museum of Broadcast Communications, an accomplished pilot (Paragon Flying Club & Silver Wings Fraternity), photographer, woodworker, teacher, announcer, producer, writer, pianist, and patented inventor (Humidaire Humidifier & Kiss-Lite patented lighted visor mirror). Renaissance man Bill Hamilton was truly a Chicago broadcast pioneer.
Mike Klingele has worked at WBBM-TV for nearly 38 years, shooting and editing day to day news, breaking stories,
sports, features and investigations.
Growing up in suburban Glen Ellyn, his parents were avid Channel 2 viewers and Mike’s first experience with news was watching Bill Kurtis, Walter Jacobson, Johnny Morris and Harry Volkman. He attended College of DuPage, working in their Television Services department, before transferring to Illinois State University where he graduated in 1980 with a degree in Mass Communications specializing in television production.
He was hired by WMBD, the CBS affiliate in Peoria, as a news photographer and editor. A year and a half later, he took a job at the number one station in Peoria, NBC affiliate WEEK where he was named Central Illinois Best Photographer by the Associated Press in 1984.
In 1985, Mike was hired at WBBM-TV where he met his bride to be, fellow editor Ann Barczak. He eventually began shooting full time and his career highlights include covering Illinois’ U.S. Senator Paul Simon’s meeting with Solidarity leader Lech Walesa in Poland and covering Cardinal Bernardin’s interfaith trip to the Holy Land.
Mike also covered four national political conventions with long-time political reporter Mike Flannery. He travelled to New York after 9/11, covered Pope John Paul II on his U.S. tour in 1987 and the Pope’s 1993 World Youth Day in Colorado, and the 1988 Space Shuttle Discovery launch with Lester Holt.
His many sports assignments include the 1988 Super Bowl, sideline camera for CBS Sports, the famous “Fog Bowl” at Soldier field, the Bulls playoffs in 1996 and 1997, cart and motorcycle camera for the Chicago Marathon, as well as the 1992 Olympics in Albertville, France. Eventually Mike landed in the Special Projects department where he worked on a wide variety of franchises including Harry Porterfield’s “Someone You Should Know,” “Table for Two” with Vince Gerasole, Steve Baskerville’s “Best of Chicago,” and the medical beat with Mary Ann Childers.
Mike has spent many years in the I-Unit, shooting and editing award winning investigations including “Sterigenics” and “Wrong Police Raids.” More recently he worked with Dave Savini and producer Michele Youngerman on a child sex trafficking series that won a national Edward R. Murrow Award. His work has won more than 25 Emmy® Awards, an Alfred I. duPont-Columbia University Award and a Peabody Award.
Vince Lloyd spent almost four decades with WGN television and radio, bringing baseball into the homes of hundreds of thousands of Cubs fans.
He was born as Vince Lloyd Skaff, one of five children of Lebanese immigrants who owned a family bakery in Beresford, South Dakota. He graduated from Beresford High School, attended South Dakota State University, and transferred to Yankton College on the South Dakota/Nebraska border. He played tackle for Yankton’s football team, met his future wife, Miriam, and participated with her in local theater and radio dramas.
Vince graduated from Yankton in 1940 with a degree in journalism. He successfully auditioned with KTRI radio in Sioux City, Iowa by describing an imaginary parade. That’s where he dropped his surname and became known as Vince Lloyd. He moved to WJBC in Bloomington, Illinois, and then to WMBD in Peoria before enlisting in the U.S. Marines in 1942 during World War II.
Vince joined WGN in Chicago in 1949 where he would spend the next 38 years on both radio and television. From 1954-64, he partnered with Jack Brickhouse on Cubs and White Sox telecasts. One of Vince’s career highlights came on opening day in 1961 at Washington’s Griffith Stadium when he did an impromptu pre-game television interview with President John F. Kennedy, the first such interview conducted at a baseball game.
After Cubs radio play-by-play man Jack Quinlan died in an automobile accident in 1965, Vince teamed up with Lou Boudreau as the radio voices of the Cubs for the next 23 years. He was “the voice for all seasons,” -- not just doing baseball, but anchoring TV news sports segments, and announcing football and basketball games, professional wrestling and high school sports. He was known for his distinctive baritone voice and his signature “Holy mackerel” home run call.
Vince is credited with helping entertainer and fellow Lebanese-American Danny Thomas gain support for St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital in Memphis. He retired in 1987 but occasionally returned to the booth, including subbing for an ailing Harry Caray in 1994. Vince died in 2003, and was enshrined in WGN’s Walk of Fame in 2017 along with longtime colleagues Lou Boudreau and WGN sports producer and 2011 Silver Circle honoree Jack Rosenberg. It was Jack who once described Vince as a man whose “heart is as warm as the Lebanese sand of his ancestors. Vince was a fantastic man, very compassionate and charitable. Everybody was his friend.”
Hosea Sanders is an 18-time Emmy® Award-winning broadcast journalist who serves as entertainment reporter and
anchor at ABC7 Chicago. He provides entertainment coverage for WLS-TV and other ABC owned-and-operated
stations across the country. He also plays a major role as a program host at Chicago’s top-rated television station.
Additionally, Hosea presents the “Chicago Proud” series of stories which gives voice to everyday Chicago-area
heroes. He spotlights the differently-abled community in a series called “Celebrating Abilities.” His reporting on this
beat was recently lauded in a story published in the Columbia Journalism Review.
On the programming side, Hosea hosts ABC7’s Emmy® Award-winning series, Our Chicago: Black Voices of Change (formerly Heart & Soul), which showcases Chicago’s vibrant African American community. He helps host one of the highest-rated local shows in Chicago, the award-winning New Year’s Eve special, Countdown Chicago, as well as ABC7’s Bud Billiken Parade, the largest African-American parade in the nation. He is also a co-host of the nationally syndicated Magnificent Mile Lights Festival, produced by ABC7 and the Walt Disney Company. In addition, he is one of the faces of ABC7’s hugely-successful annual televised blood drive with the American Red Cross.
Hosea was the recent recipient of a Telly Award for international broadcasting excellence for his work on the anniversary production of the Chicago Federation of Labor. The Better Business Bureau of Northern Illinois named him the initial inductee into their “Torch Awards Hall of Fame” to honor his support for workplace ethics.
Hosea is in constant demand nationally as a public speaker and has received more than 100 awards for community service. He is a Distinguished Graduate of Henderson State University in Arkadelphia, Arkansas, where he earned Summa Cum Laude honors in Journalism and Oral Communications. He is member of Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity and has worked at TV stations in Los Angeles, Dallas and Little Rock. He is also a member of the National Association of Black Journalists, the Chicago Association of Black Journalists, and the National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences.
Hosea Sanders has emceed scholarship pageants across the nation, and has judged numerous local and state contests, including Miss Arkansas, Miss Virginia, Miss Texas and Miss North Carolina as well as The National Sweetheart Competition. He makes his home in Chicago’s West Loop.
My career began in our family rec room in Hinsdale, Illinois when I was ten years old. My parents had friends
over every Sunday for barbecues and sporting events, and every week the adults would put on records and sing
along. All of the kids loved these Sundays, including me and my siblings. We’d put on awful shows for the
adults, but we thought they were wonderful and so did our parents. Flash ahead 10 years and I’m not putting on
shows, I’m working for the airlines in reservations. It was a great job if you loved to travel, and I did, but
unfortunately there was nothing creative about the job. So seven years later I got off planes and came down to
earth. It was time to go back to school. Chicago had just opened a school of the arts, Columbia College. It was
the right school at the right time. A mere 11 years after high school I had my degree. Mom was right, I was a late
I interned at WCBS, and my first job was working for Catholic Television and yes, there really is such a network. Next, I had 2 children. I think the Catholics had something to do with that. I was still periodically filling in for vacations at CBS. I thought I’d never get a good paying job in television; just when I was ready to throw in the towel, the Donahue show moved into the building. That move changed my life and launched my career.
It’s been a roller coaster, but I wouldn’t have missed the ride. I’ve had the honor of working with: Phil Donahue, Joan Rivers, Jane Pauley, John Walsh, Montel Williams, Dan Aykroyd, Naomi Judd, Val Warner, Ryan Chiaverini and our fabulous WCL (Windy City Live) team. Each and every experience taught me something.
I’ve had stints at GMA (Good Morning America), MSNBC, CBS, NBC, ABC and the Food Network. I’ve done pilots for Quincy Jones and his business partner, David Salzman, and a quirky pilot for The Weather Channel. Some worked while others didn’t, but each idea/opportunity deepened my appreciation for the creative people who took chances.
Throughout this journey I’ve been blessed with friends, mentors and teachers who have enriched my life. To them I am eternally grateful. Because of their generosity and support, that 10-year-old girl who loved to put on shows, got her dream job as an adult…putting on better shows.
Jay Shefsky gets caught up in other people’s enthusiasm. Whether they love ice fishing or are passionate about
improving the lives of neighborhood kids, he wants to hear – and tell – their stories.
Jay arrived at WTTW in 1986 with a full head of hair and a desire to tell stories about everyday people. After several years of apprenticing with some of WTTW’s best, he started making his own documentaries. A Justice That Heals told a powerful story of forgiveness in the wake of a murder. To Live Until I Die looked at hospice care through the eyes of six patients and their families. Angels Too Soon was about the tragic 1958 fire at Our Lady of the Angels School that led to the death of 92 students and 3 nuns. Other documentaries told stories about public housing, neighborhood parent activists, and the costs of racism.
As series producer of Chicago Stories with John Callaway , he oversaw the production of 15 historical documentaries about Chicago. These include informative and entertaining looks at Chicago’s historic Riverview amusement park, the 1933 World’s Fair, the annual race to Mackinac, along with exploration of the lives of blues singer Koko Taylor and African American aviator Bessie Coleman. Jay then produced Leopold and Loeb: Love and Murder in Chicago, described in the Chicago Tribune as a documentary with “unusually adept commentary, interesting period images… and a cogent grasp of the complex issues that make this murder disturbing and even resonant.”
In 2005, Jay joined the staff of Chicago Tonight and then stepped in front of the camera to tell his unique brand of stories about Chicagoans whose talents, passions and projects make up the rich texture of this city. In 2010, those stories found a new audience with the creation of the program series Jay’s Chicago. For several years, Jay also produced and curated WTTW's legendary independent film and video showcase, Image Union .
His work has been honored with numerous awards, including Chicago/Midwest Emmy® Awards, Peter Lisagor Awards from the Chicago Headline Club, and a Cine Golden Eagle. Jay’s work has been broadcast nationally on PBS, and on ABC’s Nightline news program.
He is an avid cyclist, hiker and paddler. His wife Liz Feldman, and daughters Hannah and Leah, are the best part of Jay's Chicago.
Gail Sikevitz began her career by producing TV commercials, but quickly decided she wanted her work to have more
social value than promoting products like coffee, although it is her favorite beverage. She was inspired by Edward R.
Murrow’s quote about television, “This instrument can teach … but only to the extent that humans use it to those
ends.” In 1974, Gail produced a four-part series on the criminal justice system (WTTW) and two half-hour films on
the felony courts (WMAQ).
Gail was hired at WBBM by Warner Saunders, her mentor, to write and produce the documentary series Channel 2: The People hosted by Harry Porterfield. In dozens of half-hour episodes, Gail explored issues impacting Chicago neighborhoods and schools, and highlighting strides in medical research. Gail developed her documentary style of focusing on individual families to explore each topic, a personalized approach to help viewers identify with the issues. She also produced segments for Common Ground and kids specials hosted by Warner. Then, Gail moved back to WMAQ as executive producer of programming. Gail’s work was honored with more than a dozen awards including seven Chicago Emmy® Awards, two DuPont Columbia Awards, a Chicago International Film Festival Award and a Silver Gavel.
After her daughter was born, Gail made a career shift, becoming an executive at the Dolores Kohl Education Foundation - doing PR for the Kohl Children’s Museum, and working on the Kohl International Teaching Awards and StoryBus, a children’s literacy museum on wheels.
After two decades, Gail used her experience in education to create and produce Green Screen Adventures (GSA) at Weigel Broadcasting. GSA was a children’s TV series that promoted literacy by featuring the writing of elementary school students. Their work was adapted and performed by an ensemble of actors. Over eight years, her amazing team produced 434 episodes featuring stories written by two thousand children. GSA was broadcast in Chicago on WCIU, then nationally on THIStv.
GSA was awarded the Service to America Award for Children by the National Association of Broadcasters Education Foundation, five National Emmy® Awards, and two Gabriel Awards for uplifting the human spirit. Most important were the responses of the children themselves: “Everybody was proud of me, but not as proud as I was of myself." - Jose, 3rd grader. “I will continue to write books. I know that my little body can do such big things." - Zhané, 4th grader.